Where to Eat in Pattaya
Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends is a fine dining restaurant serving an eclectic menu of mouth-watering dishes in casual surroundings. The charming eatery is located in the heart of Cozy Beach, a foodie enclave in Pattaya, Thailand.
Meet Harlan Goldstein
Harlan Goldstein and I go back a long way. I can’t remember where or how we met, but I assume it must have been at one of the many opening night parties of the slew of restaurants he opened in Hong Kong in the early 2000’s.
What I DO remember is attending a lavish birthday party several years ago. Pictures were taken, and I posted them on Facebook. And then we managed to almost lose touch.
I was a bit surprised when I learned nearly two years ago that Harlan had given up Hong Kong’s hectic food and beverage scene for the more laid- back setting of Pattaya, Thailand. The popular beach resort is a two hours’ drive from Bangkok, the Thai capital.
Located in Pattaya’s Cozy Beach district, Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends opened in January 2018.
Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends serves what Harlan calls “comfort food from around the world”, but if you are thinking of hot dogs or chili con carne or macaroni and cheese, think again.
Drawing on his 38 years’ experience manning the kitchens of restaurants in such diverse locations as New York City, Florida, Switzerland, and China, Harlan has developed an eclectic menu with Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Spanish, and Thai influences.
Harlan grew up in Big Apple’s rough-and-tumble Lower East Side. His career began in the kitchen of his uncle’s restaurant.
As the saying goes, the rest is history.
Captain’s Table Dinner at Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food
When I informed Harlan that I was in town for a few days, he invited me over for what he calls a “Captain’s Table Dinner” at the eponymous Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends.
This turned out to be a four-course dinner for two. It was washed down with several perfectly crafted gins and tonic.
Black Olive Bread with Middle Eastern Garlic Butter
We started with scrumptious black olive bread, which we slathered with Middle Eastern garlic butter.
It was delectable!
The First Course
Smoked Salmon Ice Cream Cones with Caviar
Our second course was smoked salmon ice cream cones, which were topped with caviar. The texture was smooth as silk, and the taste was out of this world.
What an interesting combination of flavours and textures! I loved it!
The Second Course
Organic Beetroot Tartar with Spice Yogurt
I have to be honest: I have never liked beetroot. My mother used to slice canned beets into thin slices and top green salads with them.
And I would carefully pick out all the the slices of beets. When my mother protested, saying, “What are you doing? Beets are delicious!”
I would hand her mine and say, “If you like beets so much, you can have mine.”
All I can say now is, Harlan has made me a believer. The organic beetroot tartar with spice yogurt was delicious. Again, a perfect combination of flavours and textures. And it was beautifully presented!
The Third Course
Four Cheese Fondue Truffle with Spanish Ham and Black Truffle Honey
The picture says it all. This melodious dish was music to my taste buds!
The Fourth Course
Roasted Prime Black Angus Rib-eye with Herb Crust and French Potato Puree
I’m a beef eater if ever there was one, and I like my beef cooked rare. To me, overcooking a fine cut of beef is a sacrilegious act.
Not only was this an excellent cut of rib-eye, it was also to cooked perfection. And the herb crust and French potato puree were the perfect complement.
My Dining Companion for the Evening
Harlan really does thinks of everything. Not only did he prepare a spectacular meal for me.
He also invited a very lively personality to dine with me so that I wouldn’t feel lonely while he was busy in the kitchen.
Based in Pattaya, Dr. Penguin is a professional magician. He entertained me with magic tricks while Harlan was busy preparing the next course.
After performing one of those “how did he do that” card tricks, Dr, Penguin pulled out a rubber balloon and started to blow it up. It must have been six feet long by the time he was finished.
I assumed he was going to create an animal or possibly something outrageous with it. So I didn’t take a picture of it at first. I was waiting to photograph the finished product.
However, Dr. Penguin did not make anything with the balloon. Instead, he started to put it in his mouth. Then he started to shove it down his throat.
I was expecting something unexpected to happen, and I was not disappointed.
It was only when about two-thirds of the balloon was in his mouth, however, that I realized that I should have been taking pictures from the start. Better yet, I should have been recording a video.
OMG! I can’t believe he actually swallowed the whole thing! When asked how he would extract it, he said, “Don’t worry. It will come out tomorrow.”
The Restaurant’s Ambiance
The restaurant has a casual ambiance and a friendly atmosphere.
The dining room has a greenish blue and red colour scheme, with lots of quirky touches.
The floor tiles seem to have a Sino-Portuguese influence, which is popular in many parts of Thailand.
The Art on the Restaurant’s Walls
Original artwork adorns the eatery’s walls. Included is a painting of Harlan with his dogs from his Hong Kong days.
My favourite was the mural overlooking the Captain’s Table (left), which was painted by a very talented member of staff.
The Staff at Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends
The staff were friendly and professional. They also spoke surprisingly idiomatic English.
Was this Harlan’s influence – or is that why he hired them in the first place?
The Uni-sex Rest Room
Don’t forget to visit the facilities before you leave!
Diners are encouraged to scribble comments on the walls of the restaurant’s uni-sex rest room.
Felt-tip pens are provided for those with a literary bent.
The Verdict of Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends
An enthusiastic two thumb’s up from the Accidental Travel Writer! But don’t take my word for it.
Several diners went out of their way to approach Harlan on their way out of the restaurant to thank him for an outstanding meal.
Harlan Goldstein’s Comfort Food for Friends – 378/531 Moo 12, Kasetsin Soi 2, Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri, Thailand.